Facebook has announced a sweeping ban on white separatists and white nationalists after the tragic shooting earlier this month at mosques where 50 people were killed by a suspected white supremacist. The man behind the massacre live-streamed the mass shooting on Facebook as it happened.
As a result, Facebook has announced that it will ban “praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and white separatism on Facebook and Instagram” starting next week. Facebook has long blocked (or says they’ve tried to) posts related to white supremacy, but the new change means Facebook will now treat white nationalism as no different than white supremacy. As Facebook wrote in a blog post:
Our policies have long prohibited hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion — and that has always included white supremacy. We didn’t originally apply the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and white separatism because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism — things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people’s identity.
But over the past three months, our conversations with members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world have confirmed that white nationalism and white separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups. Our own review of hate figures and organizations – as defined by our Dangerous Individuals & Organizations policy – further revealed the overlap between white nationalism and white separatism and white supremacy. Going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and white separatism.
In other words, Facebook just shot down a common rationalization white nationalists use to say you can’t lump them and white supremacists into the same category. And Facebook isn’t stopping there. The company also announced that users who search for white supremacist terms will now be directed to Life After Hate, a nonprofit founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, outreach, and education to people involved in supremacist movements.